The Cask of Amontillado Essay Examples and Topics

by Edgar Allan Poe

Essay Examples
Essay Topics
Brief overview

November 1846


Edgar Allan Poe


Short story



Major Characters

Montresor, Fortunato

Based on
Symbols / Motives

Murder, crime, mystery, murder motive, revenge, punishment


Poe’s personal rival, Thomas Dunn English, published a revenge-based novel in 1846 (the novel was called 1844). It made references to secret societies, which Poe used in this short story. In addition, the author may have been inspired by the Washingtonian movement - a group of reformed drinkers.


The story is set at carnival time in an unspecified Italian town. It’s about a man murdering a friend out of revenge for an insult. The insult and injuries that led to this event aren’t named, and that’s the element of mystery in the story’s plot. Montresor lures the fellow nobleman (Fortunato) to join him on a private wine-tasting excursion. In one moment, Montresor hesitates and suggests going back, but Fortunato wants to continue the tour.

Montresor murders Fortunato by chaining him to the wall and entoming him alive.

Why Is This Topic Important?

It’s an interesting mystery that invites the reader to think about a murder’s motives. Poe doesn’t provide much context for the murder’s motives. The reader is left to explore the character’s personality and gestures and assume what led to the grotesque murder scene.

Main Ideas

Where does the idea and willpower for murder come from? A simple matter can be exaggerated so much in a person’s head that it can lead them to horrific acts.

Key Quotes
  • “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”
  • “My heart grew sick - on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat!”
Interesting Facts

Connoisseurs of Poe’s life and work believe he’s been experienced in bricklaying himself. It’s unclear what he did after leaving the periodical he worked at. A source revealed that he’s been working in a brickyard.

Arguments For

The short story is an excellent representative of the horror genre. Poe was a masterful writer, who carries the reader through the murder’s psyche.

Arguments Against

It’s a deeply disturbing story, so not everyone will enjoy it.

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